Waiver Worthy: Identifying Options For The Injured Superstars (Goodrum, McMahon & More)

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by Will Overton

The season is only a few days old, but the injuries are already to starting mount leaving fantasy owners scrambling to fill holes. I will be checking in on a weekly basis to talk about what’s on the waiver wire focusing on different topics each week, but this week we are looking at the early season injuries.  There have been three significant losses (and for a substantial length of time), so let’s take a look:

Mat Olson – 1B, Oakland A’s
The A’s power hitting first baseman broke a bone in his hand in the second game of the season and while the A’s haven’t announced a timetable, typically this kind of injury is 6-8 weeks. If you lost your first baseman here are some replacement options:

  • Ryan McMahon – Colorado Rockies: The first base position is not as deep as it once was, but a guy playing on a regular basis in Colorado always has a little bit of intrigue (McMahon has started three of four games between first and second base). He has some power upside and Colorado is the right place to see that blossom. It’s not a slam dunk, but it could certainly be a good option to get you through.
  • Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals: The Nationals’ first baseman had a hard time staying on the field last year, but he’s just two years removed from a season in which he hit .303 and had 36 HR. He is 34-years old and could be ready to hit a decline, but we also don’t have proof that it’s coming so it may make sense to give him a run and see what happens.

Justin Upton – OF, Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are set to be without one of their biggest bats for up to 3 months as right before the start of the season he was diagnosed with turf toe. If this left you in a bind here are a couple of guys to look for on the wire:

  • Adam Jones – Arizona Diamondbacks: After seeing his home run total take a big dip last season Jones was a forgotten man in MLB free agency as well as fantasy baseball drafts. He has found himself in a prominent position in the Diamondbacks offense, either hitting leadoff or cleanup thus far, and he already has a couple of HR. While the dip in power was troublesome last year, he still had as many extra base hits as normal, they just came in the form of doubles. It’s perfectly reasonable to think the power comes back this season and owners gave up a little too soon.
  • Kevin Kiermaier – Tampa Bay Rays: If you’re in a bit of a deeper league then maybe give Kiermaier a look. He may make me look really bad for my undying belief, but I still think if healthy he has the upside for a 15/15, or even 20/20, season. At this point he is healthy and he’s an everyday starter for the Rays, and I am more than willing to take a stab and see what happens. If the bat gets going he’s a prime candidate to work his way into the top third of this lineup and some fantasy goodness.

Daniel Murphy – 2B, Colorado Rockies
The latest victim of the injury bug, Murphy broke a finger diving for a ground ball and is now most likely on the shelf for a while, though no timetable has been announced. Second Base has always been a tricky position to fill, but there are a few options out there worth considering.

  • Kolten Wong – St. Louis Cardinals: If you want to go with the hot bat approach, Wong has come out of the gates swinging this season. He is 8–14 in four games with 2 HR and 2 SB. You certainly can’t expect this kind of hot stretch to last, but there is a reason he was so highly touted a few years back and it’s possible he’s due for a delayed breakout. Don’t expect too much, but you can ride the hot hand.
  • Niko Goodrum – Detroit Tigers: The Detroit Tigers offense has been absolutely anemic thus far and it’s conceivable that it won’t get much better, but a second baseman who hits in the middle of an order is still hard to come by. Goodrum put up a sneaky good stat line last season of 16 HR and 12 SB, and the Tigers seem determined to keep him on the field. He is a solid option at 2B who is also eligible at 1B and could be eligible in the OF soon, so he’s worth a spot on your roster.

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